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Topics - LoletaEric

Pages: [1] 2 3 ... 14
Every time we go salmon fishing, we hope for a hot bite and limits. It doesn't happen that often, but that's OK - salmon fishing is hard, and that' s a big part of why we love it.

I met Domenic down at the Cove for a session Sunday morning. I was the first one at the ramp for the sixth time out of six runs down there this month, and that's one of my secrets to success. Another one is that I adhere to this motto that describes my presentation: "Barbless all summer." Catching a salmon - or even just fighting one - is probably the pinnacle of kayak fishing skill development and shear enjoyment for most of us who pursue this sport along the Nor Cal coast. Those who wish to catch one but who can't stick with the focus are left to wonder about it and whether they're cut out for it. And those who end up hooking and landing a King with barbs or otherwise illegal gear may be faced with a dilemma that cuts to the root of their sportsmanship - not to mention ability and worthiness. The salmon chase is about discipline, and it's about honor. Those of us who religiously devote our time and energy to this pursuit in its pure form are part of a brotherhood.

Yesterday the brotherhood of kayak fishermen at Shelter Cove enjoyed a rare and joyous event. Early in the day, with a decent sized powerboat fleet not really finding the fish, 4 of us got on top of a school in shallow water and ended up all limiting out before 10AM. A 5th yakker showed up as we were making our way in, and he got his limit too.

It was an amazing morning for sure, and with the tide out and warm sun on the beach at the launch, Dom and I took our time filleting our catch at the tailgate over a couple of cold beers. It was like the best of times down in the Cove midday yesterday.

I can't post this up without acknowledging the hardships that are occurring across our country in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. We spoke of it yesterday, and we agreed that we are fortunate to live where we do and to enjoy the freedom of open space and largely open minded communities up here. I am with the protestors, and I am with law enforcement. I am for America finding a way to become whole and just for all of us. We escape onto the ocean to find ways to ease the burdens of life on land, and we appreciate the lives that we are able to lead. For me, there is no replacement for community - nothing that I do in nature would have nearly the meaning that it does if not for friends, family and other community members that I share my experiences with. I want you to know that I am proud that my overriding focus is about humanity, and I would have it no other way.

Thank you for looking for ways to bring your love and passion and community to the fore - we all need this more now than ever.

Please consider these words when you participate in this community - NCKA.

My first guest for the season at the Cove was my good friend Dave from Honeydew. A few years back I had the honor of taking he and his wife Aniza out at Trinidad where we had a blast breaking them in to kayak angling offshore. Dave did a followup run with me last summer and got his first salmon along with the usual assortment of rockfish and lingcod. We recently got this trip planned out, and this past Monday's shark incident at the Cove didn't change our focus. It was Dave's birthday and the eve my own, and that, combined with the pleasure of being in a position to guide my friend on a foggy ocean, meant that we would share a day of celebration - no matter what we caught.

Working together to get a fat 16 pound Chinook in the net was the highlight of our fishing day.

You get a birthday once a year, but every day is a new opportunity to live life to the fullest. Don't put off your desire to engage yourself in adventure and the spirit of brotherhood.

General Talk / GWS Attack @ Shelter Cove - 5/25/20
« on: May 25, 2020, 09:54:03 AM »
Got word this morning of a kayak hit at the Cove.  Yak has reportedly sank, and the yakker is reportedly OK.

Other info should come in soon.

It's been windy AF with barely even any powerboats going out this weekend, so it's likely this was close in by the lighthouse/Bell zone.

I've got 2 guys for Thursday - good forecast.  We'll all have flotation, and I'll have the camera ready.

Old video: 

General Talk / Later, NCKA - 4/3/20
« on: April 03, 2020, 10:17:58 AM »
I've made lots of good friends through this sport and this site in 15.25 years posting.

Time for a timeout.  Fishing isn't a priority for me right now.  Helping my country survive this - helping all people survive this - and keeping my family safe and sane are the only priorities.

I wish you luck, and I welcome friendly communication.

General Talk / April Salmon Fishing Closed as of 3/31/20
« on: March 31, 2020, 01:08:18 PM »
Just saw this from a friend on Facebook.

I'm glad that the state is helping people figure out the priority for saving lives and getting us back to normal earlier than if 10% of people are running around doing what they want during the biggest crisis in our lifetimes.

Yes or No

General Talk / OK to travel for fishing?...
« on: March 27, 2020, 02:06:51 PM »
Where do you stand?

Event is cancelled.

I will be contacting those who signed up to see about refund or possible gear production.

GS14 Roster:

Bennett, Martin
Bradfield, Dave
Brown, Kyle
Butolph, Tim
Calvert, John
Campbell, Shane
Duffy, Tim
Force, Sky
Gaeta, Nick
Harrison, Scott
Jennings, Cody
Kaber, Doug
Lagasse, Aaron
Lawson, Al
Lee, Troy
Lockaby, Mark
McDonough, Tom
Nunes, Frank
Pham, Kiet
Ramos, Max
Roumiguiere, Justin
Saufferer, Ron
Saufferer, Terry
Shields, Josh
Soriano, Ricky
Stockwell, Eric
Tully, Tom
Whiting, Jack
Woodard, Tyler


Hookups and Fishing Reports (Viewable by Public) / Cape Mendo - 11/2/19
« on: November 17, 2019, 11:21:43 AM »
Saturday, November 2nd was such a Cape Day! I crashed at midnight the night before and was slightly bummed that I wasn't going midnight crabbing - first time in a long time that I've missed the opener. The forecast called for an offshore run, so Domenic and I hit it. Not a breath of wind all day, and the fish bit pretty well. Crab would come soon enough.   :smt001

[Sorry for the stale report - not my style, but I've lagged on posting reports here lately.

High value in this report is about Domenic's decision to release a big spawner lingcod.  Lots of guys are geared up to document their catches thoroughly with fish in hand, so I encourage folks to pursue what turns out to be an amazing experience in itself:  releasing a trophy.]

Got a call from a young adventurer who wanted to head offshore to catch some fish.  We set a date of Thursday, October 24th, and I arranged to get back to her about 5 days prior to our date to confirm that the forecast was a good one for our trip.  The long range call looked good with light winds and a low swell, but as we got closer to our date raspy winds and a Small Craft Advisory were now predicted to end the morning of our trip.  I spend lots of time looking at forecasts and comparing them to what materializes along the nearshore coastline.  Multiple forecast pages had this wind ending, so I kept the trip as planned, and I assured my guest that we wouldn't go out if the water wasn't right.  I've never had to cancel a trip the morning of, and it's because I'm very careful about making a reliable call of go or no-go prior to the trip.

So I make my way down to the Cove on the morning of October 24th, and there's some wild indicators along the route:

- it was 39 degrees passing over the Mattole at Whitethorn;
- it was 77 degrees at the top of the ridge above Whitethorn;
- this was before dawn;
- there were fir boughs on the road on the way down into the Cove - never a good sign;
- it was 77 degrees at the launch ramp, and that was also before dawn!

A slight breeze with 77 degrees at the ramp as I got the yaks and gear ready in the dark had me a bit concerned, but every forecast had things chilling way out.

Alicia arrived right on schedule, and as we geared up a few powerboats launched.  By a bit after 730AM when we would've been ready to launch the wind was showing signs of picking up instead of laying down.  I told my guest that sometimes we have to wait and watch it for a bit.  In the next 1.5 hours we basically waited out a mini-hurricane with 25 to 30 knots coming from the NE.  The swell was non-existent, but there was absolutely no way we'd be launching into that wind.  At one point over by Deadman's Gulch I saw wind that blew straight down on the water 3 times in a row and caused what looked like explosions of moisture and power, and I thought to myself, "that's dangerous!"

I have faith in the forecasts though - even if they're off by a few hours, when all the models say very light winds by mid-morning or so, you wait for it.  Alicia had never been in a wetsuit, she was getting too hot, and she's a millennial and didn't bring anything to keep her occupied!  By just after 9AM she suggested that we should postpone.  I didn't want to put my foot down because this was some of the worst wind I've ever seen on a fishing day!  I acquiesced, told her no problem and arranged to get back to her later to reschedule. 

Alicia drove back over the hill - she's local.  Less than an hour later the wind totally died, and I went on to have a productive day on flat glass in the sun with absolutely no wind for the rest of the day.

I was a bit bummed to have lost a work day AND spent $50 on gas and bait, but that's the breaks for a guy who gets to make part of his income in this manner.  I contacted Alicia later, told her that the wind ended up dying and that I had some fresh lingcod for her - I needed to keep some kind of string attached to this opportunity, or I might never convert!  Alicia was friendly and gracious, but I don't think it occurred to her that I'd lost money and a day because she didn't have faith and patience.  Again, I wasn't going to let it bog me down even if we never ended up going out, but it had me thinking about the importance of a possible deposit policy for future trips...

Over the coming days the forecast for the following Thursday, October 31st looked good, so I was corresponding with Alicia about getting out there to fulfill the trip.  She was onboard, but then the PG&E outage came along, and the feasibility factor faded then fizzled.  F&$%!  The power came back on in time for me to go solo, and it was the last day of salmon season, so another $50 worth of gas and bait would be consumed!  The salmon weren't biting, but it was another nice day OTW with plenty of the usual suspects hooked, played and landed, and I got home in time to dole out candy to the costumed masses (WAF points are always prioritized).

Thursday, November 7th was our newest target date.  Somehow the forecast was nice for the 3rd Thursday in a row, but it was now November...  The later you get in the calendar year, the more likely you'll encounter funkiness in terms of cold, fog, wind, confused seas...etc.  We ended up encountering all of those!  But the trip got fulfilled!!   :smt001

Here's my report for the trip:

A-Lo earned her Offshore Angler patch yesterday at the Cove. A mild but persistent south breeze had us paddling on choppy seas, and cold fog obscured our views of land for most of the day. Alicia had never been on the open ocean, so we started out with some concerns about seasickness, shark potentials and the whole can't-see-shore issue - not to mention that she'd never before used a fishing pole! By the end of the session my guest had checked these milestones off of her list:

- didn't get seasick or freaked out by not being able to see shore;
- learned how to troll bait along the reef;
- landed a 15 pound Chinook and a limit of lingcod!

Had to release the salmon of course, but how fortunate it was that she got to fight a stout and hot king on her first fishing trip.
We ended the day in the usual fashion - cold beer at the cleaning table and achy smile muscles on the drive home. Being in a position to introduce my guest to the offshore wilderness and to the thrill of pursuing diverse and beautiful creatures along our amazing coastline is even more fulfilling than I ever thought it would be. At the end of the day, making a new friend turns out to be the best part.

I know that I'm very fortunate to be in the position that I'm in, and I appreciate it very much.  In cases like this, where my own patience and faith are tested by circumstance, it's good for me to go through these trials and to focus on being positive and to find my own grace under pressure.

There's so much more to learn from our pursuits in the outdoors than just the obvious parts.

Great two day trip with Ed.

Thursday - Bite picked up mid morning, and Ed got on a hot one.  He played it like a pro - he's a long time salmon, striper and halibut fisherman from the East Bay.  Got it in the net, and we were off to a great start.  With a king under burlap we were hopeful for more of that action, but only one coho bit for the rest of session.  Filled up the stringers with plenty of bottom dwellers and got wrapped up by dinner time.  I drove home and got gear washed by just after dark.  Posted up a brief report on FB and crashed to be ready for Friday.

Hookups and Fishing Reports (Viewable by Public) / Shelter Cove - 8/31/19
« on: September 01, 2019, 11:55:05 AM »
Doug and I hooked over a dozen species at the Cove yesterday. The bite really lit up for lingcod - the mainstay of the Cove has been a bit scarce this summer, but we caught and released 25 to 30 through the middle of the day - all barbless. No salmon were announced amongst the fleet - we lost one king and landed a no-net coho.

Doug, a Cali-hali pro who's harvested a couple dozen flatties from Humboldt Bay this summer, brought all the right gear, a great attitude and top notch skills for a day where all the potential of the Cove was on display. After such a great session on the rockfish, lings and sole out front, we came back in close where my good friends Ryan and Ryan were on a hot thresher bite! We got a five minute thrill ride of our own before the 60 to 80 pounder took the gear with a slash of its tail.

All of the catching of the day made for achy smile muscles, and by the time we got back to Loleta at sunset Doug and I were settled in to a properly toasted contentedness! What I really appreciated about our trip was how Doug was mainly looking for a relaxing time on a beautiful ocean. He's caught plenty of fish in the bay and offshore at Trinidad this year, so we only retained a few catches that were bleeding. I feel really fortunate to have opportunities to share places that I know so well and to show the ways that have brought me success over the years. As important as it is to me to impart my knowledge and enable my guests to maximize their success and build their skillset and confidence, I always hope to override the business deal part of the equation by doing my best to get to know a new friend. Mission accomplished.   :smt001

I've been guiding for over 5 years and have around 300 trips under my belt. Some of the time I'm taking folks out who are new to kayak fishing. I love to outfit and instruct, and helping someone discover the sport and the beauty of the offshore environment is one of my favorite aspects of the work.

As much as I love introducing my guests to a brand new experience, I have often said that my 'ideal client' is someone with their own gear and plenty of fishing experience who is looking to learn to target new species to them or to discover new places. In these cases I know that my job is to pass on as much info as I can about the layout of the local reef, where and how fish like salmon, halibut and lingcod have been caught, safety, forecasts, currents, the local vibe...etc. I do my best to help these more seasoned kayak anglers gain the knowledge and experience that they're seeking, and I'm fine with the fact that we may only be doing one trip together before they're up to speed with what I have to offer. I often see past clients on the water at the Cove, Trinidad or Humboldt Bay, and another one of my favorite aspects of guiding is to see these 'graduates' of my guide service finding proficiency and success on their own.

Yesterday I had the privilege of guiding Cody Baughn of Arcata. He's studying fisheries at HSU, and he just got his Hobie Outback up here to the north coast. With plenty of experience catching SoCal species like Yellowtail, Calico and even Blue Fin tuna, I quickly found that Cody ranks up with the best kayak fishermen I know in terms of his familiarity with hooking, fighting and landing fish. He brought top flight gear along with the skills, so right away I learned that I wouldn't be netting all of his fish or even hooking his baits! Cody had hired me up with the express intent of learning our local target species - he wanted to do some salmon trolling, and he told me he'd never bagged a legal halibut. I offered that we could target those two - arguably the most coveted of our nearshore fin fish - and that we would likely have plenty of rockfish and lingcod action while doing so. Cody was all in.

We met up at 430AM at my place, and by 6AM we were the first ones at the ramp and ready to hit it hard for the day. I suggested that we should do a few passes over the halibut grounds before heading offshore, and Cody was all about it. 15 minutes later my guest had his first ever legal halibut on his clip. Our next move was out across the reef heading for the salmon zone. The lingcod and rockfish were actively pursuing our baits, and we soon had a couple of bottom dwellers added to the stringer. It was time to go for some chrome.

The salmon bite has been OK at the Cove this summer - not red hot. My guests and I have caught a good number of Chinook this season, and I have no complaints - it's just often a tough scratch to find a hookup. Yesterday's fleet was pretty quiet - the charters headed further from the Cove and skipped even trying for salmon early, and only a few local powerboaters were giving it a go out past the Whistle with not much talk of any fish landed. Then Cody spotted someone fighting a fish a couple hundred yards from us. Did I mention that this kid is totally on it?!

We watched as a local fought and landed his salmon, and before long we were formulating our plan to find our own. For as much as Cody was obviously very capable with his equipment, I really appreciated that he was fully devoted to following my instruction and using the gear that I prepared for our use. We'd already utilized a couple of trolling methods and done some mooching, and now it was time for the flashy stuff. We put gear out that is more demanding of energy and focus, and we'd be running it deep. I felt like we had our biggest challenge of the day in front of us as we began trolling a heavier gear train at a more vigorous pace than what we'd done all morning.

When Cody soon hooked up a salmon I was so thankful and surprised - my dude had brought serious mojo on this trip! He skillfully played the salmon and had it up to his yak before it whipped its head violently, breaking the leader and swimming off in an instant. Cody was thrilled! So was I, but, knowing how hard it can be to get bit by these hot Cove kings I was worried that what could have been our only salmon opportunity may have been gone that fast. We were all smiles as I set up a new leader for my guy, and I was thriving on his positive attitude and great energy. When we got to trolling again I was incredulous when Cody quickly hooked another fish and had it up to his yak. When another leader broke I was about to be mortified, but Cody's continued attitude of joy overwhelmed me! I had no choice but to reciprocate with my own - I can't say enough about what a gift that moment in time was.

To cut to the chase here, Cody went on to break off two more kings, but he also landed a limit to 17 pounds! I was in the Twilight Zone - wondering what was going on with freshly tied 30 pound Maxima leaders while at the same time rejoicing in the fact that my guy - my new protégé! - had hooked and fought 6 kings in an hour, breaking 3 off right at the boat and landing 2. But that's not all - in all that time I had a few driveby's that stole my chove, but I did not hook one fish! ALSO, the fleet of half a dozen boats and another yakker that I called in to the bite had only landed a couple of fish in that time. Incredible. Absolutely incredible.

I've seen plenty of bites where one guy does way better than others - I've been that guy, and those are great days. I've also been on the skunky side of the equation, and you have to take them as they come. I have never - NEVER - seen one guy get so much of the action. I was astounded and thrilled all at the same time, and Cody was riding the wave of his own self-actualized fulfillment.

We soon went in, stowed our catches at the truck, met with the CDFW fish counters who whacked off the head of Cody's big king before we could get on-shore pics, had some much needed food after 9 hours on the water, and then we headed back out to the halibut grounds for 8 more shakers and one barely legal that Cody elected to release (did I mention that this young man is a superstar?).

With how the fishing day played out so amazingly, I was pretty busy in my head through the late afternoon considering how this report would shape up. The way Cody dominated was the obvious and valid theme, but a night's rest has me very clear on what my biggest takeaway was from yesterday's trip. This person, Cody Baughn, not only put on a clinic using my methods on my home waters, but he did it with the most genuine and thorough positive attitude that I've experienced as a guide. I'm not just referring to his ability to bounce back from breaking a fish off. All day long - from 430AM until after 9PM when we got back to my house - Cody displayed courtesy and conscientiousness that I have only rarely experienced in my lifetime. When he addressed me it was, "Eric, may I get a few more anchovies please?" or "Eric, what do you prefer?" regarding equipment or a technique. He always used my name and very politely and kindly with a friendly tone of voice. Over 17 hours together if there was ever a little quiet stretch Cody would initiate a new conversation with an unassuming and very caring approach. This type of positivity is infectious, and it's one of the most important things in life - to see it in a 23 year old was refreshing to say the least. Being a sometimes crotchety 50 year old, I am impressed and affected by what my time with Cody brought. I am renewed.

What happened at the end of Cody's line will remain mysterious and wonderful. Other than what I call the "Salmon Lottery", where we all run similar gear at similar speeds and depths and only a few may find success, I am chalking Cody's success up to his positive attitude. Cody brought the mojo by choosing to be an Ambassador of Affinity in the way he lives his life, and I believe that through that focus and his dedication to it Cody self-actualized a set of amazing outcomes. This is real, and I believe in it 100%.
Thank you, Cody, for taking me under your wing of Love yesterday. I am a better person for our time together.

I can't make this shit up, and I want to thank the NCKA community for the support and inspiration.   :smt001

Hookups and Fishing Reports (Viewable by Public) / HBO - 7/3/19
« on: July 06, 2019, 11:31:17 AM »
Morning at HBO - that's Humboldt Bay Offshore, and it's my home waters.

I grew up riding the swells through the jaws of Humboldt Bay and out onto the open ocean with my dad in his little aluminum dories. I remember thinking we could die out there, but I trusted the captain. My old man had the ocean down pat - mosquito fleet at Shelter Cove in the 70's, commercial salmon dory in the summertime off of Humboldt Bay too, and later when I was college age he got his six-pack license and did salmon charters here from a 19' Gregor. As a kid I'd be doped up on Dramamine and half asleep when he'd wake me up to have me fight a fish - I still get sick as hell on powerboats. Not on my kayaks though.

I've been kayak fishing on the ocean for over 20 years, and getting out of Humboldt Bay is always one of my favorite trips. I'm taken back to those times as a kid when my dad was looking to get me on an adventure of fishing and the excitement and responsibility of being on the open ocean. He's been gone for almost 12 years now, but he came to know long before his passing that what he was showing me had definitely stuck and made a major impact on my life.

Today a few friends and I enjoyed a special bite out near the whistle buoy. The coho were chewing choves madly at 30 pulls, and a few kings were brought to the boat as well. One of my good friends David got his first taste of the challenge that is HBO on a yak, and my other good friend David got a killer payoff that only results from the diligence that this sport requires. I got a little something too, and, as always when I'm on the water chasing these chrome phantoms that have come to mean so much to my entire life, I got a good visit with Dad in too.   :smt001

2nd guide day in a row on Humboldt Bay.  It went well for Mike and I.  He's all tooled up with the right gear, a great attitude, lots of fishing experience, and a willingness and eagerness to learn new ways to do it from the kayaks.  We worked for better than 5 hours around a midday high tide.  Got in to two early ones including a stout 35 incher, and then bites were scarce.  Didn't see any other fish caught - 2nd day in a row.  It's all about keeping the focus, and Mike's well on his way to finding success on his own.  Helping other sportsmen develop knowledge and confidence presenting bait for salmon and halibut is proving to be one of my best offerings, and I hope to add you to my list of men met on the internet if you're looking for that kind of love!   :smt003

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